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Developing A Contract Playbook, with Jeanette Nyden and Lawrence Kane, Ep #111

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For procurement and other contract-related roles, there has never been any kind of contract playbook that new people to the profession can look to for guidance. The wait is over. This episode of Negotiations Ninja features co-authors Jeanette Nyden and Lawrence Kane who have quite literally just written the book on the subject. “The Contract Professional’s Playbook” is now available on Amazon and sets the standard for developing procurement talent, building those individuals into personnel assets who add great value to the organization, and set up the industry to continue growing well into the future. Enjoy!

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:14] Why a playbook is needed for procurement and the story behind the book
  • [4:56] Changes happening in the contract and procurement world the book is aimed at
  • [8:35] The content found inside the playbook: including internal and external negotiation
  • [11:25] Performance & outcome-based approach to fit a collaborative negotiation model
  • [15:01] Navigating when to be tough and when to step away
  • [20:48] Managing frustration when your service business has to do what isn’t best
  • [25:30] The vital importance of performance-based outcomes in the contract

Procurement is moving up the value chain as a profession

The role of procurement is more front and center than ever. Though it’s often seen as the group responsible for cutting costs and saving money, there’s a ton more to it than that. A good procurement professional is instrumental in striking a deal with suppliers that is not only fair to them but that serves the purchasing organization well for years to come. Essentially, the job of procurement is to build relationships with suppliers that move the enterprise forward.

The book Jeanette and Lawrence have written, “The Contract Professional’s Playbook” has raised the bar on the significance and prominence of the role procurement plays in the profitability of organizations. Now, those working out the contracts have a significant seat at the table when it comes to purchasing decisions and their application and implementation within organizations.

Procurement professionals are retiring — and that’s a problem

Those of us who work in procurement know that those who are long-practiced and effective in the role have learned on the job, the hard way, so to speak. That sort of education is priceless and needs to be transferred effectively to those coming up in the procurement ranks. That’s where the problem is—most of those experienced contract professionals are nearing retirement and traditionally, they’ve been so vital and so busy throughout their careers that they haven’t been able to adequately pass on their knowledge.

This issue is one of the reasons behind the creation of Nyden and Kane’s book. It’s their attempt—and a masterful one—at codifying the approaches, skills, and experience of these war-torn contract professionals so that the next procurement generation and beyond can understand the role and how it functions within the larger organization.

Contract professionals must learn to manage frustration constructively

No contract negotiation goes smoothly, but some are even more difficult to manage than is typical. When miscommunication or outright obstinance is encountered in a negotiation, it’s natural and easy to become frustrated and to visibly show it. That’s often where the process breaks down in irreparable ways. It’s vital to reign in the emotion experienced during a difficult negotiation so that relational obstacles are not injected into an already-tense situation.

Janette shares a particularly frustrating scenario she found herself in and how she and her negotiation partner navigated the situation. It required maturity, collaboration with decision-makers at a higher level, and eventually compromising to salvage a valuable relationship that had served the organization for years. Listen to hear the specifics.

Contracts: the road map for professional relationships between organizations

Once a negotiation is complete, it’s just the beginning of the relationship. The supplier or servicing organization has to implement to fulfill their side of the contract and the purchasing organization has to set things up on their end to make that possible within their systems and procedures. This is where contract management comes in, and where we often discover a lack of clarity about what the contract management role is all about.

A contract is a set of marching orders that determine KPIs, time frames, and the terms by which modifications can and should be made to the agreement once the ball gets rolling. As Jeanette says, it’s a “living, breathing document” that guides the relationship every day. But more than that, the contract is valuable for those who come into the situation months or years later. It enables them to understand what is expected and what has been promised, and it guides them on how to manage disputes that may arise.

Jeanette and Lawrence have done an incredible service to procurement professionals and organizations everywhere with the creation of their new book. Listen to hear the story behind it and why it will undoubtedly prove to be a must-have resource for your organization.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jeanette Nyden

Connect with Lawrence Kane

Connect With Mark

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